Squarespace vs WordPress (CMS)

Any business or individual needing a solid virtual presence should, first of all, get a quality website builder and set up a stunning website. Squarespace and WordPress are two leading names in the industry, ensuring great results. That’s why it’s often challenging to choose between the two. On one side, Squarespace offers gorgeous, high-quality templates and is easy to use. On the other hand, WordPress is the ideal content management system for anyone who prioritizes power and premium customization.

However, Squarespace is a more recommendable website builder than WordPress, thanks to the exquisite portfolio of templates, impressive ease of use, and a great selection of in-built tools.

Anyway, it’s important to know the features both options have to offer and decide which of them best fits your requirements. So let us introduce you to a full breakdown of Squarespace vs. WordPress. We have dived into both companies extensively and have looked at templates, SEO features, ease of use, the price factor, and much else – everything that makes a content management system a worthy choice.

Squarespace vs WordPress: Quick Summary

Squarespace is a user-friendly “software as a service” (SaaS) website builder aimed at beginners with no coding skills. You pay a monthly fee and use a respective package of features, including eCommerce tools, support, templates, a domain name, and hosting. Furthermore, it has some unique features added to its feature sets, like Squarespace Video Studio, Squarespace Email Campaigns, and others, thus highlighting the company’s “all-in-one” approach.

Squarespace Dashboard

The basic idea behind Squarespace’s functioning is that it’s a code-free solution that, thanks to its drag-and-drop editor, makes it possible to build and publish a site of any complexity without going near any HTML or CSS. But, surely, there’s a possibility to add code if you have programming skills and want to enhance the site’s functionality even further.

On the other hand, WordPress is a free website builder and open-source CMS based on MySQL and PHP. It’s installed in a web hosting service and allows users to install and modify various themes (aka templates) and plugins and add extra functionalities to their site. Moreover, WP is highly scalable. It runs on a single website hosting account with no performance issues.

WordPress Dashboard

Being a content management system, WordPress is advanced software developed to handle large sites with a lot of data. All WP sites are fully customizable if the user masters coding. However, to make the most of this platform, you must know how to code and find a reliable hosting provider. Unlike Squarespace, which is a SaaS and involves hosting in all its plans, the hosting of a WP site is the user’s responsibility. Despite this, currently, the largest percentage of the world’s websites is built on WordPress.

Squarespace vs WordPress: Price

WordPress is primarily free. However, the service is not exactly free despite being an open-source platform. It can work if the user pays for other stuff, including hosting, themes (third-party themes are paid), an eCommerce integration, plugins for more functionality, and the services of a developer if you have no coding knowledge. And even though you can get along without most of the mentioned, if only a simple site with basic functionality is your aim, hosting is mandatory. You will have nowhere to install your WP website without a hosting provider.

Today, the market has many options available, but not all deserve your choice. HostGator is perhaps the most recommendable hosting provider for WordPress sites. It offers hosting starting at $2.75/mo. Besides, even the cheapest plan includes a free domain for one year.

Hostgator Price

As for Squarespace, here we have no free option, not counting the free 14-day trial. Instead, Squarespace introduces services catered into four premium pricing plans, ranging from $16/mo to $49/mo, provided that the user pays yearly. The Personal introductory plan is a good choice if you just want to set up a stylish website. However, to run your business online, you need at least a Business plan which supports all basic eCommerce tools.

Squarespace Pricing

However, if you want to sell more than a few products, upgrade your Squarespace plan either to Basic Commerce or Advanced Commerce plans. The latter includes several powerful eCommerce tools. Note that all Squarespace plans come with tons of built-in tools, which makes it possible to build, publish, and run a robust website without paying for third-party services or buying plugins.

So, as you can judge yourself, using WordPress can technically work out more expensive than Squarespace, even though it is a free, open-source option and Squarespace is the paid-for one.

Squarespace vs WordPress: Creating a Website

Squarespace is a beginner-friendly website builder. Accordingly, even if you have no coding knowledge or prior expertise, it won’t take long to build your perfect website. The first step implies choosing an appropriate template depending on your niche. Afterward, add a domain to let your future customers find you on the web and start adding content. Next, use all customization options to make your site a perfect representation of your brand and publish it. Now share on social media and create email campaigns to spread the word about your new site.

As for WordPress, it involves a slightly steeper learning curve. Note that you must have a hosting provider as well. The first step of building a WP site is downloading the software. Also, choose a hosting plan at HostGator and choose your domain name to set up a WP website. Next, access the control panel on HostGator and run the Wizard to get started with WordPress. Configure the information about the site, pick up a theme, and fill it with content. Once done, publish the site.

Squarespace vs WordPress: Interface

Having a clear interface and providing simplicity of use is a must for a present-day website builder. In this regard, Squarespace has come out ahead. It features a straightforward interface, while the style editor allows changing basic template design elements, such as heading sizes, font colors, images, etc., with just a few clicks.

Working with Squarespace, it’s also easy to edit the content since everything works according to the drag-and-drop principle. You can lay out the content just the way you wish, drag images and text blocks around the page and drop them wherever they fit the best.

Additionally, thanks to the latest Fluid Engine editor, it has become possible to create different versions of the same site for desktop computers and mobile devices. The new editor also comes with a broader range of tools and lets you deploy the snap-to-grid feature to keep the designs aligned perfectly.

Squarespace Interface

When the user interface and simplicity of use are to be discussed, Squarespace definitely takes the deal. The basic difference between the two in this regard is the on-page editing. Whatever changes you make on a Squarespace site will be apparent to you as you make them. With WordPress, you have to edit the page in the back end, then preview/publish it to see how the changes look.

Nevertheless, the most recent Gutenberg WP editor has brought around some flexibility. For example, you can move content around the page like Squarespace’s drag-and-drop editor. Additionally, although the latest WP 6.1 version, released in November 2022, has not altered the core UI notably, it has added several new tools and enhancements to the block editor.

WordPress Interface

Squarespace vs WordPress: Templates

The quality of Squarespace templates is apparently higher than those of WordPress. It features clean, professional, and modern templates. There are over a hundred templates classified into several types, including Portfolio, Online Store, One Page, Memberships, Blog, and Scheduling. Additionally, you can filter them per topic. All Squarespace filters are offered for free and are fully customizable.

Squarespace design templates have been created with both modern browsers and mobile gadgets in mind. In addition, the company’s professional developers used Java, HTML, and CSS techniques, thus proving every template in the collection is secure from malicious codes.

Squarespace Templates

WordPress calls its templates “themes.” And the number of WP themes drastically prevails over Squarespace’s. There are thousands of options to choose from. They are all free and cover all possible categories. Nevertheless, they are not designed as expertly, and to make your chosen option what you have been craving to create, you will need to do much work yourself.

WordPress Themes

Furthermore, since WP is an open-source platform, anyone can design and add a theme. So, one should be attentive not to download a WP theme with malicious code.

Squarespace vs WordPress: Website Design

The first thing that catches the eye about Squarespace’s website design is how intuitive the entire process is. With this website builder, users don’t have to adapt to what’s offered. Instead, every page can look different since there are up to twelve columns and spaces in a grid layout. Every template can just serve as a stencil to get inspired and start building the perfect website. With a click, you can add galleries, video backgrounds, slideshows, and plenty of other stuff using the platform’s drag-and-drop editor.

Squarespace Website Design

However, Squarespace recommends not drifting away from the main design of a chosen template since the already incorporated elements create a certain style throughout the template’s pages. The incorporated graphic design, colors, sounds, fonts, and images make up a brand. If it doesn’t coincide with your brand voice, ensure you get an overall harmonic style, as Squarespace has in every template.

Besides, Squarespace seems to have removed the capability to add a sidebar in its templates. This primarily depends on the wide use of mobile devices: websites with sidebars look somewhat redundant when accessed from a smartphone. Instead, it offers to insert blacks on the side of blog posts.

And finally, what also makes Squarespace a convenient option for professional use is a custom CSS editor. The latter enhances the chosen template even further if the user knows how to code.

If coding is an option with Squarespace, with WordPress, it is a must as long as you want to make the most of WP capabilities. Although the Gutenberg editor has significantly facilitated the processes of building and customizing websites, WP sites are still harder to make than with an ordinary drag-and-drop editor.

On the other hand, WordPress is a unique platform that gives its users ultimate control over their sites free of charge. If you can devote some time to learning the WP configurations, you can tweak things to suit your workflow, as WP offers many front-end plugins and tools to add a more user-friendly approach to the content management system.

WordPress Plugins

On balance, we’d state that website customization is far more convenient and easier with Squarespace for newbies. And yet, we can’t claim WP interface and CMS are hard to comprehend. While Squarespace offers templates and suggests customizing them per your brand, WordPress gives you unmetered control over your site design since you begin with a draft (choosing any basic WP theme is also an option, yet recommended for those who want a professional site).

Squarespace vs WordPress: SEO

When it comes to search engine optimization, WordPress appears to be a more powerful platform than Squarespace, provided the WP site is correctly configured. In self-hosted WordPress, a user has full control over the technical SEO setup. One can choose the hosting provider with the fastest page speed times since Google’s search algorithm has been recently updated, and the page speed and performance have been given preferential treatment in search results.

WordPress SEO

Although WP can’t praise itself for a wide array of built-in SEO tools, there are several sophisticated SEO plugins to boost search engines, speed, and other optimizations. Perhaps the most popular WP plugin within this category is Yoast. It guides the user through the best SEO practices, from creating cornerstone content to adding meta descriptions and keywords.

Conversely, Squarespace can boast of more in-built SEO features. Such options include customizable clear URLs, meta titles and descriptions, image alt text, page redirects, automatic sitemaps with .xml format, hide a page and control social images functionalities, automatic markup, incorporated mobile optimization, etc.

Squarespace SEO

Squarespace also offers a series of eCommerce-oriented SEO features. For instance, it automatically generates SEO-friendly pages with static URLs for every category. Furthermore, all virtual stores built with Squarespace have enhanced brand visibility so that customers can find the products more easily. Generally, everything on an eCommerce store built with Squarespace, from the store page URLs to navigation, is automatically SEO optimized.

Squarespace vs WordPress: Publishing a Website

Publishing a website after it has been successfully built is the last step to make and have your site visible to the public. Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial during which you can use the platform’s full functionality and build your perfect website. And yet, to publish the site and let it go live, you must upgrade to a paid plan. Then, proceed with the payment and either get a free domain for a whole year by paying for an annual plan or buy it from another domain service. Once done, the Publish Site function will become available.

The process of publishing a WordPress website is slightly different because WP is a self-hosted platform. After picking a name for the site, you must think about a domain and a web hosting provider. Currently, the market offers multiple web hosting providers, yet HostGator is the most recommended one. After buying a hosting plan, you can integrate WP into your dashboard and start building the site. Before publishing the site, check the SEO optimization, set up Google Analytics, back it up, and then click Publish.

Squarespace vs WordPress: Online Store

Out of the box, Squarespace has impressive eCommerce functionality. The company’s pretty nifty integrated eCommerce system works in diverse contexts, and the key features cover the ability to sell uncountable products, a user-friendly shopping cart system, a 0% transaction fee for Basic Commerce and Advanced Commerce plans, the possibility to sell both physical and digital products, as well as services and subscriptions, customer accounts, gift cards and discount codes, automatic abandoned cart recovery, POS functionality, and pay-to-access member areas to sell videos and courses or create membership sites.

Squarespace Store

Upgrading your Squarespace plan, you are obtaining a range of advanced eCommerce tools, particularly label printing, gift cards, 0% transaction fees, video storage, abandoned cart recovery, advanced web analytics, subscription selling, etc.

However, despite the abundance of Squarespace eCommerce features, it’s not free from certain limitations. For instance, it doesn’t facilitate multi-currency payments, the point-of-sale and automatic tax rate conversions work only in the USA.

As for WordPress, it has no in-built eCommerce functionality. However, thanks to the majority of available plugins, it’s easy to add comprehensive online retailing functionality to a WP site. Perhaps the most popular platforms to incorporate with WordPress today are WooCommerce, Ecwid, and BigCommerce. All of them have the same eCommerce functionality as Squarespace.

Squarespace vs WordPress: Blog

A blog is a powerful means for a company to connect with the target audience. Both WordPress and Squarespace are up to the task of supporting top-quality blogs. And yet, their functionality differs slightly.

Blogging lies at the core of WordPress. Generally, WordPress is the most powerful website-building platform as far as blogging is concerned. It has many free templates aimed at bloggers, as well as built-in tools for tagging and categorizing blog posts. But if the user wants their own look, WP allows access to HTML directly.

WordPress Edit

What makes the WP blogging capabilities unique is the company’s blogging community. For instance, if you have a WP account, you can comment on any other WP blog in case the blog owner hasn’t limited access. Just count yourself. WordPress powers around one-third of all sites on the net; hence, your blog already has millions of potential viewers.

As for Squarespace, here you get everything out-of-the-box. One of its best features is the portfolio of blog-friendly templates with up-to-date interfaces that display the posts either in a compact magazine-style grid or in a single reverse chronological feed.

Squarespace Blog

Squarespace allows managing daily workflows and categorizing, publishing, and tagging blog posts through the dashboard. Also, share links to your posts on social media to increase your blog’s popularity.

So, Squarespace makes it possible to run a sleek blog by accomplishing all the basic features provided.

Squarespace vs WordPress: Technical Support

In terms of customer support, Squarespace definitely prevails over WordPress thanks to its dedicated team available through live chat or email and organized tutorials. The centralized Squarespace support team can be reached through live chat, email, community forums, social media, and webinar sessions. Surely, the knowledge base is also available with multiple help guides and workshop videos.

As for WordPress, here you have to rely only on the WordPress community, which won’t always give a precise solution to your problem. Unfortunately, WP features no in-house team that can provide official help when necessary.

Squarespace vs WordPress: The Winner

Hands down, WordPress is one of the most powerful and flexible tools that allow you to build any website you would like that will look exactly as you imagine it and perform all those functions you have been craving for. And yet, if you have no coding knowledge and can’t afford to hire a professional developer, Squarespace definitely becomes the better option.

Squarespace offers to build a website easier and has tons of important features, including templates, eCommerce tools, and email marketing. Furthermore, Squarespace becomes responsible for hosting, security, and maintenance of your site, relieving you from all the hustle.

So, Squarespace is the preferable option between the two and our winner.

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